The Ten Guiding Points of Tai Chi
1. Relax – loosen the muscles, release tension and give up your energy externally but preserve it internally.
2. Sink – the whole body, upper torso, waist, thighs and legs, should be relaxed and all energy concentrated in the “Bubbling Springs.”
3. Chest sunk, back straight, shoulders down and elbows lowered – combined, this allows the chi to sink to the tan t’ien.
4. Suspend from above – a light and nimble energy should be preserved on the top of the head and the lowest vertebrae should be erect.
5. Use the mind – all the movements are directed by the mind without using external muscular force (arms become like iron bars wrapped in cotton). “From the most flexible and yielding, one will arrive at the most powerful and unyielding.”
6. Body acts as one unit – upper body and lower body follow each other. Energy is rooted in the feet, develops in the legs, is directed by the waist and is expressed through the fingers.
7. Full and empty – when practicing it is important to distinguish between insubstantial and substantial.
8. Line of vision – your eyes must always look forward to an imaginary opponent. The head and body must move as one unit.
9. Flow – all the movements of the form must be connected without severance – practiced slowly, effortlessly and continuously to allow the chi and blood to circulate.
10. Meditation in action – when practicing you must control your movements by tranquility and direct the movements with mind intent rather than external muscular force.